Skip to main content

Full text of "Ellis A View From The Top"

See other formats


A View from the Top 



Admiral James O. Ellis, U.S. Navy 

Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe 
Commander, Allied Forces Southern Europe 

and 

Commander, Joint Task Force NOBLE ANVIL 
During Operation ALLIED FORCE 




This is NOT: 

♦ The story of the ALLIED FORCE air campaign 

♦ Statistics, facts and figures 

♦ What your staffs and component commanders can tell you better 
than I 

♦ AH good news 

This IS an attempt to give you: 

♦ A senior Commander's unique perspectives and very 
personal opinions 

♦ Thoughts on how the next Joint Force Commander 



1 



can fight his campaign even better 

♦ A springboard for open and frank discussion 



There Is Much Good News 

The most precise and lowest collateral damage air 
campaign... in history 

♦ Achieved all objectives — at the strategic, operational and tactical 
levels of war 

♦ Zero aircrews lost in 78 days of round-the-clock ops and over 
38,000 combat sorties 

♦ NATO's largest combat operation in its history 

♦ 1 3 of 1 9 allies contributed forces... 305 aircraft, almost 1 5,000 
sorties 

♦ Many operational firsts... but most importantly... 




2 



Operational Firsts 



Impressive combat debuts: 

♦ B-2 / JDAM "Global Reach— Global Power" concept 

♦ SLAM-equipped P-3C AIP 

♦ TLAMS launched by the Royal Navy - 2 1 launched from HMS 
SPLENDID (and reloaded in-theater) 

4 C-17 made possible the first-time air deployment of a major, 
multi-role Army force of Ml s, M2s, MLRS, 1 05 and 1 55 
howitzers, and engineer equipment 

♦ JWAC Tier-4 Collateral Damage predictive modeling validated... time 
after time.. .in combat 

And broad, multi-dimensional non-combat theater ops 
continued unabated... 




Highly effective and superbly executed... but politically 
constrained 



3 




maximally effective 

♦ Air strikes were effective against VJ armor only after the UCK 
launched its major offensive 

♦ UCK forced the defending forces to uncover and mass their armor 
and mechanized forces 

♦ Q36/Q37 highly effective in identifying VJ indirect fire assets... 
but work remains on "sensor-to-shooter" 

After the air campaign, significant ground forces were still 
required to occupy and secure the area. 




Just what is a major campaign? 

♦ If Serbia took 78 days... 

♦ Is everything except SWA and Korea to be a "No Plan" start? 

What does that portend for planning, presence levels 
and required capabilities? 

♦ CVBG / ARG presence in the EUCOM AOR? 

♦ Army mobility and deployability? 

♦ joint war reserves and sustainability? 

♦ The future of low density / high demand assets? 

4 



Short War Syndrome 



We called this one absolutely wrong ... 

♦ Affected much of what followed: 

□ JTF activation, staff composition, facilities, command and 
control, logistics and execution 

□ Lack of Coherent campaign planning 

□ Lack of adequate component staffing 

□ The race to find suitable targets 

♦ OPLAN focused on brief, single-dimension combat 

Q Deception, diversion St feint opportunities lost 

□ We failed to plan for branches and sequels 

What will we do next time? 




JTF-NA was not formed around a pre-designated 
(and trained) theater staff 

♦ Past paradigms have focused on training and planning for 3- 
star JTF Commanders only 

♦ But major coalition operations of this magnitude require 
decisive and senior U.S. leadership (4-star) 

♦ AFSOUTH / CNE was uniquely positioned to synchronize U.S. 
and alliance operations 



5 




Implications for theater postures for future? 

♦ Training and broad investment required 

♦ Manning/ infrastructure/ exercise regimes 




6 




Environment 



Affects every aspect of planning and execution 

♦ Caused "incremental war" instead of decisive operations 

♦ Excessive collateral damage concerns created sanctuaries... and 
opportunities... for the adversary - which were successfully 

exploited 

♦ We did not anticipate the difficulties of NATO out-of-charter 
operations 

♦ Ruling out a ground option corrupted JFLCC continuity, 
removed campaign planning, challenged G2, and resulted in a 
hasty last minute ground planning effort 




Lack of the credible threat of ground invasion probably 
prolonged the air campaign 

♦ Although never committed to action, TF HAWK was "their 
worst nightmare" for enemy forces in Kosovo 

o The focus of a particularly effective PSYOP effort 

♦ Our only "sequential plan" was to do more of the same... with 
more assets 

♦ Only the enemy could decide the war was over 

7 



Never say never... or deny yourself credible options 



The Ground 




Lack of a Ground Component Commander was a mistake 

♦ Even absent a combat ground offensive, the planning and 
staffing capabilities that an ARFOR would have provided were 
needed 

♦ Shifted significant ground planning responsibilities to the JTF 
staff - only marginally prepared to handle myriad issues 
pertaining to Initial Entry Force for Kosovo and TF FALCON 

You won't always know what you need until you need it 




The new ''American Way of War"... 

* Proud to be an American... only nation in the world with all 
the tools (analytic, modeling, platforms, weapons, training, 
intelligence) 



8 



♦ But our allies cannot match us... 

♦ And adversaries will inflict as much CD as possible 

♦ Very expensive... investment required to maintain and improve 
capabilities (in all areas) 

♦ Creates public expectations... every incident is a perceived 
failure and will be exploited publicly 

Or self-inflicted asymmetric warfare? 



We may own the night... but poor weather creates sanctuaries and 
operational lulls 

♦ Precision-guided is no longer "good enough" 

♦ We experienced greater than 50% cloud cover more than 70% 
of the time... and it wasn't the worst part of the year 

♦ Laser or EO-guided munitions cannot hit what the pilots 
cannot see 

♦ JDAM expenditure equaled the production rate 
GPS-guidance is a requirement and the way ahead... invest 
accordingly... allies too 



9 



nformation 




At once a great success... and perhaps the greatest failure of the 
war 

♦ First IO Cell activated at the JTF-Ievel 

♦ All the tools are in place... only a few were used 

♦ Great people... with great access to leadership... but too junior 
and from the wrong communities to have the required impact 
on planning and execution 

♦ Incredible potential... must become our asymmetric "point of 
main effort' 7 ... but not yet understood by war fighters... and 
classified beyond their access 

Properly executed, IO could have halved the length of the 
campaign 



Not a shining moment for the U.S. or NATO 

♦ The enemy was better at this than we were... and far more 



Public Info & 




IG 




nimble 



10 



♦ The enemy deliberately and criminally killed innocents by the 
thousand... but no one saw it 

♦ We accidentally killed innocents sometimes by the dozens... 
and the world watched on the evening news 

♦ We were continuously reacting, investigating and trying to 
answer "how could this happen?" 

♦ Milosevic had informational "interior lines" 

A much underutilized instrument of national and alliance power- 
ignore it at your peril 



Great technology... but needs controls... 

♦ Information saturation is additive to "the fog of war" 

♦ The demand for info will always exceed the capability to 
provide it... how much is enough? 

♦ You can have too much staff coordination... and for issues that 
don't require it 

♦ Still need to "push" critical info vice "posting it" on the web 
page... no substitute for record traffic 

♦ You can only manage from your DTC... you cannot lead from 

it 

n 




After 78 days of hard campaigning, we effected little degradation 
on a modern IADS system 

♦ Redundant systems and well-trained operators with the 
discipline to wait for a better opportunity 

♦ Affected tactical employment of airpower throughout the war 




campaign (stressed LD/HD assets) 
Will we train for this environment... or continue to assume we 
can take IADS down early? 



Re-Looking IADS Roll 





nflicted Wound 




Asymmetric Warfare 



The enemy benefited from: 

♦ The NCA/ NAC target approval processes 



12 



♦ Our poor OPSEC posture (NATO and US) 

♦ Our inability to wage full IO campaign 

♦ Our self-suspension on cluster munitions 

♦ Our standards for limiting Collateral Damage 

♦ Our aversion to US casualties... and ground combat 

♦ Our reactive vs. proactive Public Info/ Public Affairs 
All of the above slowed the "Decide— Act" side of our own 
OODA loops... and reduced our control of the operational tempo 

The next adversary will as well... and may take far better 
advantage of it 




Not yet the "Three Block War" ...but not the Iraqi desert either 

♦ Future campaigns will have more target areas like Belgrade 
than Basra... or Route Pack I 

♦ Ups the political constraints by an order of magnitude 

♦ Allows adversaries to utilize CNN to their best advantage... 
yields informational "interior lines" 



13 




etc. 

We were lucky... but luck is not a principle of war for the next 
Commander 



LOW 




Low density assets were absolutely in high demand 



♦ Impacts of this campaign will be felt for years (platforms, 
systems, reliability, parts, personnel, retention, replacement 
costs) 




♦ The density cannot remain low 

♦ Regardless of service, an issue for joint funding at the highest 



priority 

♦ We do not leave home without them 
And without them... we cannot leave home 



14 



Final Thoughts 



We succeeded. But what if... 

♦ The enemy had attacked front line allies with ground forces... 
or theater ballistic missiles? 

♦ The enemy had gotten even a few POWs... or KIAs? 

♦ Invasion became the only option? 

♦ The FRY submarine had sortied? 

♦ We were still fighting in winter weather? 

♦ We'd expended our precision munitions stocks? 

♦ Public support had weakened or evaporated? 

♦ France... or Italy (bed down)... had said "enough"? 

♦ North Korea or Iraq had attacked? 
We won't know until the next time 



15